It’s soundcheck on the last night of Babeheaven’s national tour at Bush Hall, Shepherd’s Bush, and it’s a homecoming for the West London band. After rising to prominence with demo ‘FridaySky’, vocalist Nancy Andersen and guitarist Jamie Lewis are enjoying the affirmation their newfound success is giving them.
Deservedly riding the crest of a wave of interest in their music, Babeheaven stand utterly apart from an indie climate where pastiche is the order of the day. Rather than clinging onto a mutual interest in psych or shoegaze, the group (formerly a songwriting duo) use their different musical backgrounds to inform their writing. Choruses like ‘Heaven’ or the trip-hop inflected ‘Moving On’ peg them firmly as ’90s kids with a fixation for the kind of hooks that Shaun Ryder would trade a bucket hat brimming with primo pink smileys for. Nevertheless, their music resists easy categorisation.
For Jamie, it’s the realisation of an ambition that has been brewing for a while. “I’ve always been obsessed with music and bands,” he admits. “Since I was 11 and started playing guitar I knew I wanted to be a musician.” Sensing the traditional obstacles of this career trajectory, he briefly tried his hand at academia as a historian at university. “After three months I left and was like, ‘OK, I’m a musician, I’m just gonna give it a big go’.” Nancy, his friend from home, started jamming with him after his other musical projects dissolved, and their camaraderie soon spawned Babeheaven.
Theirs is a partnership that works because it sounds so organic. “I don’t think we overthink our music and that’s the most important thing,” Nancy notes. “In production you have to overthink, but when you’re writing it has to be quite simple and pure, because otherwise it turns into a real shit show!” Nancy may not have harboured the same career goals as Jamie from the start, but her ethereal vocal and elegant approach to melody reveal a similar musical obsessiveness. Defiantly treading their own path, Babeheaven are proving to be one of the nation’s most exciting groups right now.
WHERE: West London
WHAT: Emotive indie with shades of soulful pop
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Heaven’, ‘Moving On’, ‘Friday Sky’
FACT: Jamie is recovering from a tabloid-worthy pizza addiction. “I was eating pizza about three or four times a week - I’d get two large pizzas and a garlic bread from Dominos...”
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Words: Tim Hakki
Photography: Sophie Mayanne